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Duterte eyes raps vs Gordon over ‘misused’ SBMA funds

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Duterte eyes raps vs Gordon over âmisusedâ SBMA funds
Duterte said the Commission on Audit disallowed some SBMA transactions under Gordon, stating that COA issued a disallowance notice for P140 million, including some P86 million that Gordon supposedly took.
Geremy Pintolo, file

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has threatened to file a case against Sen. Richard Gordon over funds that were allegedly misused when the senator was chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).

Duterte said the Commission on Audit disallowed some SBMA transactions under Gordon, stating that COA issued a disallowance notice for P140 million, including some P86 million that Gordon supposedly took.

“So I would like to inquire from the Ombudsman if there is a case filed against you because lahat na na-disallow and the money was not returned. The money was not used in the right way. It reduces into something like a personal liability. How come you did not settle it? So kindly settle, (if) not, I will personally see to it that a case will be filed against you,” Duterte warned.

Duterte also questioned COA on the actions it took after disallowing some of the transactions made under Gordon.

“I’d like to address myself to COA... I will also ask you: what did you do with the case of Gordon? Have you filed a case against him? Or have you initiated a case against him? Or did you report this matter to the Ombudsman? If not, all of us are involved here... Why, because he is a senator? Or were you paid? Tell me,” the President said.

The President assailed Gordon over the Philippine Red Cross ambulance units that allegedly display the images of the senator.

Gordon scared, but…

In response, Gordon accused Duterte of trying to divert attention from the issues surrounding pandemic supply deals under Senate investigation, describing Duterte as a “cheap politician” and has dared him to do his “worst.”

Gordon admitted he is afraid, as the man whom he did not name was able to close down ABS-CBN. “Isn’t that the one who criticizes again? Of course, I was scared. You were told ‘I will insult until you die.’ Another congressman said, ‘you are lucky, of all those who fought, you are still standing today,’” Gordon said.

“How will I face my father? ‘Are you scared, son? You, you’re a lawyer. I am a high school graduate but I worked so that I could educate you.’ Senator Gordon cannot be afraid of that. Didn’t President Estrada do that to me too? I was fired, I was attacked, our people were shot, beaten. I stood up,” he added, but refused to say that the President met his match.

Duterte also chided opposition Sen. Francis Pangilinan for supposedly “debating technicalities” during a pandemic. “You just deal with agriculture but you are eating steak,” he added.

Meanwhile, the COA has confirmed it received the Department of Health (DOH)’s action plan to rectify the deficiencies in utilizing P67.323 billion in COVID funds for 2020.

“The Agency Action Plan and Status of Implementation (AAPSI) of DOH was submitted Sept. 22, 2021. To provide context, the audited agencies are responsible to act upon the audit observations and recommendations provided by the Commission during the conduct of the audit,” COA Public Information Office director Jonathan Beltran told The STAR yesterday.

The COA gave DOH until Sept. 27 to submit its AAPSI together with necessary supporting documents. Beltran said they will review the DOH’s action plan and will conduct a “structured monitoring” of the agency’s compliance. – Cecille Suerte Felipe, Elizabeth Marcelo

COA PRESIDENT DUTERTE RICHARD GORDON
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